In 1960, on the eve of Kenya’s independence, with political upheaval, racial mistrust and extreme poverty all around, a group of young women from various countries, including the author, Olga Marlin, set off for Nairobi to start a school for women, one that would be open to women of all races and beliefs. Their mission was driven by the apostolic work of Opus Dei begun in Africa in the late 1950s.
At a time when very few African women had access to formal education, the challenges and obstacles to creating such a school were significant. But in 1961, Kianda Secretarial College, the first multi-racial school for girls in East Africa, was established. It has since merged with Strathmore College to form what is now a thriving University.
The seeds planted by the work of these remarkable women resulted in the development of more than 40 schools and centers for girls and young women in Kenya and elsewhere in Africa, from the first grades through to the university level. Ms. Marlin’s work and commitment to improving the lives of women in Africa has continued for more than fifty years and has had a profound impact.
To Africa with a Dream is an inspiring story of faith, purpose and commitment to others. It is the story of how these women’s faith in their mission was sustained despite obstacles and ultimately bore fruit. It is also the story of the author’s personal journey, her faith, her life and her work.
About the Author
Olga Emily Marlin was born in New York City on November 12, 1934 and studied modern languages at Trinity College Dublin, from which she received her MA degree in 1956. She also holds a H.Dip.Ed. from University College Dublin (1957). In June 2011 Olga received a Litt.D. degree, honoris causa, from Strathmore University, the first woman to receive an honorary doctorate from the University. She is a member of Strathmore"s University Council and one of the founders of the Kianda Foundation, where she serves on its Board of Trustees. For more than 50 years, since 1960 when she first arrived in Nairobi, Olga has worked to improve the educational opportunities and lives of women in Africa. She became a Kenyan citizen in 1969.
Olga is the daughter of the late Ervin Ross Marlin, whose career in public service included working for the United Nations, and the late Hilda van Stockum, a renowned author of children’s books and artist. Olga has five siblings living in the United Kingdom, the United States, and Canada.